MIT student casts optimistic gaze toward Detroit

Student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology tours Detroit after hearing Gov. Snyder's call for problem solvers

By Rod Meloni - Reporter, CFP ®

DETROIT - The pessimist will tell you with all the squalor, trouble and crime in Detroit the future isn't particularly bright.

Then there's the optimist who sees the glass as half full, that empty space can be filled in a very different and interesting way.

Brendan Devany, age 22, attends Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The biochemical engineering student is casting his optimist gaze toward Detroit.

"I've heard Gov. Snyder talking about the emergency manager and Kevyn Orr and he said Detroit really has a problem, and he's calling in problem solving and said 'anyone who can help with solving problems we'd love to have you down', so I was coming here on a layover and I thought I'd stop by the city and stay an extra day," said Devany.

Devany was staying at Robert's Riverfront Hotel in the city; he had a list of places and people he wanted to see.

Lucky for him Devany, he bumped into a cab driver who is the former Detroit Free Press columnist Oneita Jackson.

"A lot of people I get on their way out of town, so when I see someone 'oh we have time' (I say ) what do you want to do, what do you want to see because I usually tell them what you've seen about Detroit is true, but there is so much more," said Jackson.

Devany stopped by the mayor's office to drop off a resume and to watch city council for a few minutes. Jackson showed him the old train station and Slows Barb BQ and since she knows Slows' co-founder, Phil Cooley, Jackson introduced them.

"There is far more demand than supply in Detroit, we need a lot of things here so I think he should do what he loves to do and I think he should come here and learn a little bit about the city," said Cooley.

Mayor Bing said he wanted to meet with Devany, but he was busy in meetings before Devany had to leave to catch a plane.

If Devany is serious about helping the city there are those in the state who will definitely want to speak with him.

"This is a unique problem and a large one and it's one I'd like to see what I could do to help," Devany said.

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